Any report with the title "Bizarro" in it must begin with an image of Todd Lee, aka Grand Poobah. Beside him is David Smith. On Saturday, in the rain, David was one of 4 who showed up for the bizarre start time of 7:20am at Clear Creek Metro Park south of Lancaster for the 50 mile COP ride. However, not only did Dave ride the loop once, he rode it a second time too. By contrast, check out that beautiful blue sky.
Our esteemed ride leader, Ric Noland, showed up and the sign in process began. Tonight's route, 51 miles (seen below) would be an interesting one. The distance and sunset was not so much the issue but we would be traveling through Thornport, Thornville, Baltimore, riding on a gravel road, crossing (twice) state routes #37, 188, 22, 99, 53, 999, 666...ok I exaggerate but plenty of stops and starts that incrementally slow the travel time. But, we did all make it in if not prior to sunset, at least before total darkness.
Like the swallows of Capistrano, Jon Morgan's appearance from his nesting place in Encinitas signals the arrival of, if not spring, an early summer. If you are in doubt, that is Jon, photo bombing an otherwise idyllic parking lot scene.
How about that? A guy in a Veloscience kit all the way down here. My pic taking received a lot of stares as the natives are not used to a creeper with a camera in their midst.
Corey in black and see, another guy staring at me. I can read his mind, "Who is that weirdo?"
Engineer Mitch on the right with white sleeves and there to his right, Jim in the orange jersey who would be embroiled in a post ride dispute. I counted the cyclists and then I forgot the count! It was either 40 or 50, I think 40. Ric announced that the A group should roll out so 12...
...of us did on what was a different evening of fun. Steve O on the right, Paul Stock, Jon Morgan, David Adams, Andrew Syfert, Eric the Dispatch photographer, Brent Jenkins, Scott Young, Pete Ashmore, 1-2 others and me. Pretty solid group and as we departed, Todd Lee shouted to me, "You won't last 15 miles with those guys." Nice.
There was little warm-up and a guy in a dark blue/black kit attacked like at mile 2, we regrouped, then someone else attacked, we regrouped then dude in blue/black attacked, 3 attacks from the pack in 4.5 miles and I must admit, I did ask incredulously, "What kind of group ride is this." when I should have shut up. If they want to attack and try to cover for 51 miles that is their group dynamic. A couple of guys dropped during that period so we were down to around 10 and then we settled in at one point, riding under 20mph when conversation broke out. I'm used to the Thursday ride where the only communication is grunts, hand signals or sounds of me squealing like a child whenever Luke takes a pull.
It was entertaining as Jon told us about his childhood and how in Carroll County he was helping bale hey when a reporter from the Times Recorder arrived and a picture of Jon appeared the next day in the paper. Pretty cool. Eric was talking about some property he owned up there, we talked weather, cooking, reality tv and then I think Pete took over and we kept a fairly steady pace, stopping and starting at road crossings while our group was whittled down to 6 (as a matter of pride, I want to be on the record that I even took a 0.7 mile pull in there somewhere). The blue/black kit guy, must have exhausted himself with the attacks and had dropped back. At mile 20, our average speed now at 22, we turned left onto New Salem Road and....
....Steve O flatted. I looked at the time, I looked at the sky, I looked at the flat fix process, I looked at the B+ group approaching, I was torn inside about what to do until the B group pulled alongside and I bolted. Then the unusual evening took a turn for the bizarre. After Steve remounted, he had another flat, eventually catching a ride from a friend. Then Jon's rear cassette basically blew up so he had to call his wife to make the long drive south (no taxi or Uber service down here folks). However, Jon keeps cash hidden as a last resort and was able to offer a guy money in exchange for a ride to Canal (concern for Jon's safety causes me not to make the amount or hiding place known to any predatory reader). Paul and the remaining A's missed the right turn, a portion of which is gravel and where a B cyclist flatted and extended their route.
We moved through Thornville and on the hills coming out of there things flared a bit but we eventually regrouped with around 15 and motored on home....
....arriving with for me what was 48 miles and a 20.3 average. There, a member of the Columbus Crew was dressing down Jim for riding too hard in the B+ group. It's true, Jim, Corey and maybe 1-2 others who were in the B+ group when I was riding with them probably should head out with the A group. However, it did not sound like the speed (which was down wind and slightly down hill) by itself is a disqualifying B+ event. The group was large at the time and there is the B group that one can fall back to. It's tricky, that invisible line between what is an A and a B+ effort.
And here we go, a route of over 50 miles from Ric Noland for tonight's Canal Winchester ride. Below are links to the A, Supe B, B and C routes.